For the Time Being —
Notes from the Developmental Minister
“Goin’ to Kansas City – Kansas City here I come…” This year, from June 20-24, Kansas City, MO is host to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly, “All Are Called.”
KC is vastly underrated as a destination. During my last year as interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Chuck and I commuted regularly between New Mexico and Missouri. Often enough, Kansas City was a convenient meeting place. We found much to enjoy – attractive parks, an excellent art museum, a World War I memorial and museum, grand old Union Station, tasty barbecue (including Arthur Bryant’s, which Calvin Trillin made famous to non-Missourians), and the 18th and Vine District, which includes the American Jazz Museum and Negro League Baseball Museum.
Troost Avenue and institutional racism
Those two museums are among our favorite places to visit, but their location is a reminder of a sad part of Kansas City history. The 18th and Vine District lies east of Troost Avenue, a north-south thoroughfare dividing the city east and west. Often, the Avenue is called “The Troost Wall.” That’s because the area to the west is predominately white and affluent, while the area to the east is largely black and impoverished. The disparity is not accidental, but is the result of deliberate real estate practices, including redlining, restrictive covenants, and school segregation.
It’s not to late to register for the June 20-24 General Assembly in Kansas City
Last year’s General Assembly, held in New Orleans, had a strong racial justice focus. That theme will continue this year, with the city itself serving as a laboratory. For example, local Unitarian Universalists have organized a tour, “The Story of Segregation in Kansas City,” which will help ground in reality discussions of institutional racism and white supremacy. And the national organization Black Lives UU (BLUU) is organizing this year’s Public Witness around the cash bail system and its unfair impact on people of color. Information about this, and much more, is available at www.uua.org/ga.
It’s not too late to register for GA in person! It’s an excellent way to experience the wider Unitarian Universalist movement of which this congregation is a part. Chuck and I are going. While there, we look forward to spending time with Rev. Xolani and Tamara, and I will be recognized at the Service of the Living Tradition (SLT) as a retiring minister. If it’s not practical for you to go to Kansas City, you can view many of the proceedings, including the Service of the Living Tradition, on-line. You can even register as an off-site delegate – speak to a Board member if you’re interested.
Love and blessings,
The Reverend Suzanne Redfern-Campbell